20th Sep 2011

Disney CRP checklist – 6 months to go

Today is 6 months until I leave for Orlando. When I was first offered my place Yummy Jobs sent a checklist of all of the things that needed to be done before departure. I thought I would give a quick update of what I have done and what is still to be done.

Disney Information PackASAP | STILL WAITING…

I was initially told that this would come 5 weeks after I got my offer but that was a long way before I left so I never really expected it that soon. Hopefully it will come before christmas and should have all the offer paperwork as well as the visa application documentation.

Criminal Background Check – ASAP | COMPLETE

Got this done very quickly and I have the paperwork back to prove that I am not a criminal. A really simple process.

Missing DocumentsASAP | COMPLETE

Although I brought all the documents requested to my interview I have since had a couple of emails from Kristen at Yummy Jobs asking for scans of documents and visas from my first programs as they are needed to complete my visa petition. She sent the email last week and I sent all of the scans back within 40 minutes. Kristen thanked me for my super-fast response! I am guessing there may be some more documents needed in the future but for now I am considering this complete.


Booked and ready to go. Thanks to the wonder of Facebook I have also arranged to be on the same flight as 3 girls on the program and this week we all managed to book our seats on the plane so that we are all sitting together. One night this week we all logged on to the virgin atlantic website and found a bunch of seats with lots of free space around them in case any more people with our date appear. For anybody who booked through STA (not Yummy Travel) and can’t manage to log in to the Virgin website you need to use the Airline Reference from your STA itinerary and include any middle names you have in the ‘first name’ box – it took us a while to work that out! There still seem to be lots of empty seats on our flight but I am sure that will change as we get closer to March, although a half-empty plane could be nice and quiet.

I have also emailed all of the flight details to Disney and Yummy as they requested and today I got a reply from Karen at the Disney Service Center Office thanking me for the information and included the Vista Way address along with some important next steps:

Please make sure you do the following:

  • Bring bed linens for a single bed( or twin size as referred to in the U.S.)
  • Print out and fill out your on boarding paperwork and bring it with you on the day of your arrival
  • Pay your assessment fee online prior to your arrival
  • If you need to contact us on the day of your arrival, please call us at ***-***-**** or toll free within the U.S., at 1-888-***-****.


I particularly enjoy that last line and can think of a few people who could have done with that advice on my first two programs. I will be putting together a new packing list post (you can see the ICP 2009 one here) at some point before I leave to help people avoid packing all the stuff you will never use but will have to pull up the stairs!

Medical and Travel Insurance – Required | IN PROGRESS

As I said a few weeks ago, this has taken a lot of thought and I while I think I have decided which insurance I am going with I have not yet bought it as there is no benefit in buying it now and I may as well hold on to the money until nearer when I leave. At the moment it looks like I will be getting medical insurance through either Yummy Jobs’ Seven Corners policy or IMG’s Patriot Exchange – I am going to make a final decision in the new year. For travel insurance I am still covered for the flight and any lost luggage by an annual travel insurance policy so I am just sticking with that.

Visa4 to 6 weeks before departure | TOO EARLY

Since I have not yet got my Disney pack it is too early to make a start on my Visa but the email from Kristen about sending documents to enable Disney to make my visa petition had a deadline of the 15th September so I am hopeful that I will hear more about this in the coming weeks and months although I can’t say the prospect of hours sitting in the US embassy is something I am looking forward to at the moment. That being said, those that have been so far seem to have had relatively easy experiences so it might be less stressful than the last times.

Program Assessment Fee – 30 days before departure | WAY TOO EARLY

I just included this for completeness! It is far too early for this yet and I have a sneaky suspicion it might go up for 2012 as it did in 2009 but we shall see.

So that’s where I am… quite a bit done but quite a bit more to do.

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18th Sep 2011

Disney tickets & discounts

For more information and tips on working for the Walt Disney Company as part of the programs take a look at my other advice posts

A few people have recently written to me to ask about the discounts we can get for friends and family if they come to visit Orlando. While these slightly change year-to-year based on how the company is performing what I explain below are the general rules – special discounts often appear for specific weeks and time periods which can provide larger discounts.

Merchandise Discount

This one is fairly simple – you are entitled to a 20% discount off all merchandise other than DVDs and CDs that you buy in the parks and resorts stores. In order to qualify the cast member must be the one paying. If you pay using a card it must be in your name. If other people want you to buy them gifts this is normally acceptable if the payment is made in cash although it might be best for them to give you the cash before you get to the register since the rules on this are a little unclear.

Food and Beverage Discount

Discounts are available on full-service meals in sit-down restaurants. No discount is available on quick-service food at locations within the parks or for snacks at outdoor food locations. The system used to operate this discounts does change, in 2008 the discount was available without pre-booking by simply showing your ID when you arrived at the restaurant. In 2009 only a limited number of discounts were available at each restaurant during each day and had to be pre-booked. I am unsure what the current system is and this may change again for 2012. Discounts are in the region of 20-50%.

Ticket discounts

As cast members you are entitled to unlimited free admission to all 4 theme parks. Admission to the water parks is often discounted with reduced prices at off-peak times of day and sometimes free admission – these vary each year depending on business conditions. Discounts on Cirque de Soleil tickets are also sometimes available.

In addition you will also receive a Blue Maingate Pass which allows you to let up to 3 people into the parks on 6 days (ICP) or 12 days (CRP) a year. The tickets they receive are park hoppers which allow them to visit as many parks as they like in one day. The rules require that if the visitors are not immediate family you must tour with them (although many CMs ignore this rule – something I could not condone). A key point is that if you let less than 3 people in on one day you lose the entitlement to additional passes from that allowance – so letting it 2 people does not give you 1 more pass for another day. There are also blackout dates to bear in mind which mean that you cannot allow people entry to certain parks at certain dates such as Christmas, Easter and during the peak of the Summer – all of this is explained when you get the pass.

For people who might not be special enough to get a free ticket, acquaintances or people you are not great friends with, you are also entitled to discounts of about 20%  on park tickets. This sounds great but it is 20% off the price at the gate, often you can get cheaper tickets by buying online before leaving the UK (or elsewhere) – my personal recommendation is Undercover Tourist who usually offer good discounts over standard ticket prices.

Hotel discounts

This is where things get a little complicated. You are entitled to up to 50% off rooms if you are personally staying in them – you must be there at check in and it is a serious offence if you are caught lying about this. You can get up to 20% off rooms for other people. There are frequently other special offers – I got 75% off at the All-Star Movies resort at the end of my second program – these are worth looking out for as they can be really, really cheap. All of these are subject to availability and they tend to be very few (if any)  available during peak season, so if you want them start looking early. Often they can also appear last minute when Disney realise they have spare rooms available for certain nights.

Cruise Discounts

These are very similar to Hotel discounts and are available for select cruises throughout the year. These can vary in discount level from 10% to up to 80% with some special offers although I would not expect to see many of these on the new ships as they are more often than not fully booked by full-price guests. Again first-come first-served so it pays to start looking early.

Other Discounts

Your Disney ID entitles you to a lot of discounts in the Orlando area – the list is too long to put here, Disney publish a brochure with all of the details. My top tip is to always ask if they offer a Cast Member discount, more than often they do.

A discount I have always made good use of is at the Harmony Barber Shop on Mainstreet USA where guys can get their hair cut for $10 with a cast member ID, it is really convenient and I have frequently had my hair cut by Michal who is a Disney Partner in Excellence (a very high Disney Cast Member honour) and loves to chat with ICPs about their home country. He always spoke fondly of his memories of London to me.

Also useful is a the right to a free locker at any of the theme parks. You are required to pay the key deposit but this is refunded when you return the key. This one is not well advertised but can be really useful if you take a bag to the park and don’t feel like carrying it around.

This post is based on my own personal experiences in 2008 and 2009 and conversations with other Cast Members. While I make as much effort as possible to check things, I make no guarantee that they are totally accurate for future years. For accurate information always check the Disney ID discounts guide.
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